Capturing the way I am feeling about being here during the Olympics and being able to attend, and see it all first hand, is proving to be an impossible task. It’s overwhelming. As we have attending 2 events so far…it’s all just boggled my mind. Thoughts about all the preparations, all the details, all the security-the set up… the branding, the buildings and planting… it’s just SHOCKING… and then having the opportunity to watch these world-class athletes compete on this level. It’s so inspiring!
we were at beach volleyball yesterday in the morning for about 5 hours… and it was just horribly hot, and muggy. In the morning, the stands were pretty much full, and after about 2 games, lots of people left, and so we moved from our nose-bleed seats down quite close to the action. Beach Volleyball is a party. I guess I didn’t really expect that party atmosphere in the Olympic version, but it had it all.. the loud, fun (American) music… bikini-clad cheerleaders and quite the fun, beachy atmosphere. The stadium holds 10,000 but still seemed quite intimate, with only one court. It was so weird to have the announcements in Chinese and English.. and you’d have ½ the crowd respond to the announcer and then the other announcer would get the other ½ of the crowd to respond (with clapping and cheering…etc). I wondered how the athletes felt hearing cheers in chinese! Pretty cool. We saw about 6 matches I think… no US teams.. but we did get to see the Women’s Australia team, and they rocked… they put on a great show. And the men’s team from Netherlands was amazing. one of the guys (shoot, I can’t remember the names) was a past gold medalist… so he was awesome. The Chinese women’s team competed in one match and they got the definite ‘home town’ reception. The Chinese people were just erupting with excitement (they won). It was great fun to watch. The concessions were pretty lame…(Americans just really know how to eat at sporting events!). I was craving like nachos and licorice.. maybe a hot dog!
Later Sat evening, we got tickets with another family to see men’s gymnastics.. that was so cool because it was in the “National indoor stadium” that was right down on the Olympic Green. That whole Olympic Green area is SOOOO amazing. SO beautiful… right by the Swimming Cube and the Bird’s Nest. Everything is lit so beautifully and there was just a hum of emotion! All the banners, and flags and people. You can only go down on the green if you have a ticket to something in that area. The security is over the top. I didn’t realize that our tickets are magnetized. As you arrive at the first check points of any ‘area’.. you must pass through securing and present your ticket to this podium thing that must ‘read’ the ticket to determine if it’s a ‘real’ ticket. Then you go through the same type of security you do at the airport… everything goes though the metal detector and they wand-check everyone. To get to the Olympic Green , you have to arrive on the subway… it’s a very special Olympic line that is just beautifully decorated.. you have never seen a subway like this one! right when we got off the subway, the first smell was McDonalds.. there is a huge McDonalds right there. and of course, we ate dinner there, with everyone else. They had a special menu that was more ‘american’ than the usual menu here. – get this… they had SALAD and APPLE PIES. Dang… almost as good as home! The gymnasium that the gymnastics is in is so beautiful and so decked out with all the banners… and seriously, I can’t tell you how fabulous I think all the banners look. I am not usually a ‘primary colors’ girl.. but it’s just go the right mix, and blend and the swirls.. I think it looks so awesome. the performances were inspiring by the men… just so fun to watch, and we were thankful for the huge ‘jumbo-tron’ screens. Gymnastics is a little confusing b/c so many athletes are competing at the same time at different parts of the stadium.
Last night I was shocked and horrified to hear of the attack on 2 american tourists … I have never felt the least bit unsafe anywhere that I have ever been, and I have found the Chinese people to be nothing but thrilled to have foreigners here, and welcoming… I find them to be such warm and kind people…that is just so sad, so heartbreaking… we have been praying for the families of the victims…and praying for the security and safety of those who are here… athletes and visitors alike.